Inside the locker room: Kenny Golladay thankful for chance on top-shelf touchdown catch in return

Updated 11:18 PM; Today 11:16 PM


Week 3: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals

By Benjamin Raven | [email protected]

Kenny Golladay’s hamstring certainly was tested on his 15-yard touchdown catch before halftime, and it sounds like the wide receiver wouldn’t have it any other way.

Golladay missed the first two games of the season with a hamstring injury but picked up where he left off in his first game of the year without missing a step. The Detroit Lions beat the Arizona Cardinals 26-23, moving to 1-2 on the young season.

His touchdown catch was a big one on the heels of the Cardinals taking the lead with less than two minutes until the break. Matthew Stafford led the offense down the field and hit Golladay with a look near the end zone. Golladay made the high-point catch, turned and successfully extended for the goal line. Last season’s touchdown reception king said it felt good being on the same page with Stafford again. It’s worth noting this is the first time Golladay has caught passes from Stafford in a game since last November.

“Once I just bent inside of the safety, you know, I gave eyes right away and Staff just put a good ball top shelf for me to go get it,” Golladay said via Zoom after Detroit’s buzzer-beating win.

The receiver was asked if he told Stafford to take it easy with the bum hamstring at all but laughed and said: “No, not at all.”

“Actually, I like balls like that, you know? Just showing off my catch radius and everything. Him (Stafford) just kind of trusting me, I really appreciate all of that,” Golladay said of the play.

Kenny Golladay is

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Golladay led the Lions with six catches on seven targets for 57 yards and the touchdown in his return. He said he felt good after the game, thanks to his own and the team’s constant monitoring of the injury and how he was feeling.

The Lions and Cardinals were in a familiar spot down the stretch, tied in the final minutes of regulation. Detroit’s defense forced the Cardinals to punt, giving the offense 4:49 from its own 9-yard line in a 23-23 game. Stafford connected on all four passing attempts for 62 yards, setting up Matt Prater for the 39-yard game-winning field goal at the buzzer.

For a moment, it looked like the Lions had blown a shot to put the game away. Stafford hit receiver Marvin Hall on a deep shot down to Arizona’s 1-yard line, but a holding call brought everything back.

“To be honest, you can’t flinch in that situation. And we didn’t,” Golladay said of the penalty. "We overcame. We overcame the flag and we went out there and just made plays. It’s huge. To be honest, like you said, ‘dagger time.’ Finishing. That’s what we want to be as an offense.

“We want to go out there and finish. Finish the game with the ball in our hands. That’s what we did today.”

Related: Lions bend, finally don’t break in buzzer-beating win against Arizona

See below for more quotes from inside the locker room after Detroit’s win in Arizona:

Lions QB Matthew Stafford on getting Golladay back: “He’s obviously a big-time weapon for us. He made a great play in the red zone. Just an undersized safety and just tried to throw one up to a good spot for him. He went up and made a great play and got in which was awesome.”

Stafford on getting the first win of the year: “It’s nice, obviously. I thought it was a total team win. Our defense played outstanding, getting three turnovers for us. Honestly, we probably should have scored 40 there. They gave us some great opportunities and we weren’t able to capitalize in the red zone, which is something we need to make sure we work on and make sure we’re better at next week. A chance to end the game on offense is what I want. That’s what we all practice for, a chance to go out there and control the game at the end of it and win it. Great operation by our special teams late in the game to get the win. But it feels good to get one.”

Lions coach Matt Patricia on winning the turnover battle with those three interceptions: “Turnovers are critical every single week. We talk about it throughout the course of the week. We just haven’t had them on defense. It’s something that was really important to us, and the guys did a great job of making plays. Again, give credit to the guys on the field. They’re the ones that did it. I’ll say, here’s the best part about all of it, you have turnovers like that, it’s great, and the Duron (Harmon) comes up to me after the game – and this is why you love him — because he was like, ‘I owe you one. That’s my fault on the touchdown.’ He didn’t even care, and I was like, ‘Alright well, we won. We’re good. We’ll move forward.’ All he cares about is trying to be perfect all the time and trying to make the best plays. That’s the stuff that has to breed into everyone else on the team, and I think those guys are. I appreciate his leadership. It was great to have those turnovers.”

Lions S Duron Harmon on his interception, and the one he missed: “We said it all week, just be ready for the tips, you know that he throws. That’s all that one was. Sick that I didn’t make the one I missed, because you know, it was the to the house after that. It was good. Obviously, the one, the drop, was just being aggressive. Had a good break. Got to squeeze it, you know? Try to catch it with the chest. Tried to body catch it, and Larry (Fitzgerald) did a good job at tugging at the hand a little bit so that I couldn’t secure it in there. If I catch that one, they don’t score, so I’m a little upset with myself – interception and turnovers when you don’t capitalize on them. Got to be better at that aspect, but at the end of the day we got a win and that’s all that matters.”

Harmon on any changes in practice over the week leading into Sunday’s win: “I think if anything, I was just harder on people. You know? Had to let people know like this isn’t the preseason anymore. And it wasn’t just me. Trey Flowers, Jamie Collins, the leaders on the defense, we realized we had to pick ourselves up. You know when we go out there and play the game, it’s a practice feel to it, no fans. You’re out there and you’re competing, but it’s nothing. You got to bring the energy within, and I made a conscious effort that I wasn’t going to allow the energy to die throughout practice. Because I knew if it didn’t die throughout practice, then it wouldn’t die throughout the game. I just took it amongst myself and the leaders we took it amongst ourselves to make sure that the energy was there each and every day. To make sure that we compete no matter the drill, no matter the situation in practice. We just knew that if you can compete for the entire practice, you can do it in the game.”

Lions CB Jeff Okudah on feeling disrespected this past week: “I think it was a high-emotion game. Coming to the game, for me personally, I was tired of being disrespected by everyone. I think the whole defense was tired of being disrespected. The whole team just tired of being disrespected, so this is a game we took personally. We knew that we had to get back on track in the win column and going against this offense was a great opportunity to show the work that we put in this week. We put in a lot of work and eventually, and we knew it was going to show up sooner or later.”

Lions LB Jamie Collins on getting the win: “We put a lot on ourselves, man. We set our bar high on defense, no matter what. It’s been rough the last couple games, but, you know, it don’t stop, regardless of what we’ve given up, we still got games to play. We just got to keep pushing, keep fighting, and put it on ourselves to better.”

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury on the fourth quarter: “We had the ball with a chance to win it there with that second one, and we didn’t get it done. Once again, I felt like my play call selection was very suspect there when we were backed up. Then we get the ball to the 50, have a good shot at it, and, once again, can’t come up with a play to move it past that. You give that quarterback, who is a Pro Bowl player, the ball last, he’s going to beat you.”

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray on his interceptions: “On (the Okudah pick), I threw it behind him. I think it was a user error. That’s an easy completion every day of the week. I just threw it behind him. The one to Dan (Arnold), I got my arm hit. After that, I was on the ground, by the looks and reactions, it was an interception. And the other one to Larry, it was just a good play, bad read.”

Kingsbury on Detroit’s win: “You’ve got to give them credit. I said all week they were going to come in and play a great game. They had their backs against the wall, and they came in and found a way to beat us. We didn’t play particularly well. I think you can see that, but it starts with me not getting us ready to play. I didn’t call a very good game. We turned the ball over three times; they didn’t turn it over any, the 12 men on the field (penalty), things of that nature just will get you beat, and that’s what happened today.”